Monday, 8 December 2014

Christmas Socks for MrNifty

Life has been quite strange lately. We bought our "forever home" back in August, but it needs a lot of renovating and for one reason and another the building work is taking forever.

It's been hard to settle to anything or feel inspired to knit, so I was pleased to be asked to be part of Debenham's DebsKnittingChallenge. I was asked to knit something for "the man in my life" so was able to hand over the decision making - he chose this lovely self-patterning yarn for me to make him a pair of socks. The yarn creates an almost fairisle effect in simple stocking stitch, but no such luck - he wanted a mock cable!

The sole is stocking stitch though, see what I mean about the pattern?

One sock down, one to go... last time I knitted socks with a multicoloured I missed a trick that I remembered this time. I unwound yarn from the ball until I found the same place in the colour sequence to cast on, to create a matching pair. It worked!

Here's MrNifty toasting his toes in front of the fire, 
I shall have my work cut out getting them back to wrap!

 No time to knit? Debenhams have gifts for men - and a big thank you to Debenhams from me for sponsoring my Christmas knit.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

it's fun to share - new collaborative knitted dinosaurs!

Aren't they gorgeous? I created the pattern using pictures drawn by the talented MissBiss of Etsy shop bissandpieces, 

Each dinosaur (also known as bisosaurus!) is about 4 inches (10cm high) and designed to match Biss's new baby cards,

 "it's a boy" and 

I developed a new-to-me technique to knit them because I wanted to make them as child-friendly (ie indestructible) as possible. The head, body and tail are knitted all in one piece on double pointed needles, then I threaded my yarn right through the body  and started knitting the first arm on the opposite side to the ball  - does that make sense? - leaving the poor dinosaur hanging from the needles! Then once the first arm was finished, I started again on the other side - so the arms are attached by the yarn through the body, as well as being stitched on securely.

I don't have much time for knitting right now as it's nearly house moving time yet again, so for now there is just one of each in stock.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Visitors in our new garden

We've moved house - and so has this little mouse. He lives under the shed. He thought he lived INSIDE the shed, but as we've got stuff stored in there till we move again next year, we evicted him.

He's enjoying our bird table though.

I probably shouldn't be encouraging him, but he's so cute!

Another visitor today had us scouring the bird book. It's a redstart, very handsome!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Book review: Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber

They say there is nothing new under the sun...but did you know Debbie Macomber has written a series of novels set in a knitting store?

Knowing I knit *quite* a bit, the publisher sent me a review copy of her latest title, Blossom Street Brides.

The press release describes it as "a story of three very different women whose lives intersect in unexpected ways. Three very different women meet in the yarn shop A Good Yarn, and as they knit together they find strength through each other to help them with their problems. Meanwhile baskets of knitting are found all across the city with the label ‘KNIT ME’ – when each scarf is finished it must be brought to A Good Yarn and it will be given to homeless shelters. But who has begun this wonderful scheme? It is a beautiful story of love, family and friendship."

But what did *I* think?

I was intrigued by the idea of baskets of knitting left lying around, I wonder if it'd work in real life? That was my favourite part of the book and I soon sussed the culprit.

I enjoyed reading light-hearted fiction, particularly as my days at the moment are all about packing boxes to move house, but for me there were too many sub-plots about each character - and not enough knitting! I would have enjoyed reading more about the group knitting in the shop but maybe that's just me. I know there are similar knitting groups in the UK, but I've never attended one (do let me know if you have, it sounds fun!). I think there are a few cultural issues too, this is very much an American book: for instance, I didn't need to read about the character's visits to church, the spiritual references distracted me rather than adding to the story.

I was planning to pass it on to my elderly aunt, she's a big fan of romantic novels, but I know she won't like the American setting and "feel". I'm used to chatting with Americans daily on online forums, but even I was taken aback that a potential husband was "background checked" by the father of the bride. Do ordinary people (ie not film stars!) actually do that sort of thing? Perhaps it's my age (!) but I don't think it occurred to my father some 37 years ago!

Having said that, I did still enjoy reading the book and thought at the time it would make a good afternoon TV movie - only to find on Debbie's website that several of her books have indeed been filmed.

Whether it's your type of book or not, I'd love to hear from you if you have ever come across pay-it-forward knitting.

Debbie's website will be of interest if you're a knitter, check out her free patterns and her own newly finished projects.

Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber, published by Arrow, at £5.99

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Moving house again - buy one get one free!

Our year in Herne Bay is almost over, and we're about to relocate to Littlehampton on the south coast.

Rather than pack all those knits, I'm offering you the opportunity to buy one, get one free! 

I have removed all the duplicate listings across Folksy and Etsy (I hope!!) unless I actually have two of whatever-it-is, so there are some different pieces in each shop.

All are ready to ship, first come first served. 

You can either buy both pieces and I will refund the price of the lowest-priced item through paypal, or you can buy one and message me to let me know which second piece you'd like as your freebie. There is a risk that someone else will buy it in the meantime, so please let me know a second choice just in case.

You can mix and match between shops if it helps! This offer will run until the weekend. I will be shutting both shops after the weekend and concentrating on packing - see you from our new house!

 Shop at: Folksy and Etsy

Friday, 24 January 2014

Beach heart pebbles for Valentines Day

I've been collecting heart shaped pebbles from the beach for a long time, and have finally decided how to embellish them!

Each one is (of course!) different in shape and size, and to be honest some are "heartier" than others - but I'm having great fun prettying them up.

As it's nearly Valentine's Day it seemed right to try to make pebbles sexy, so I've gone for a lacing effect knitted stitch, like corset lacing!

I've started to add them to folksy and etsy and will continue to add more as I knit them!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Ocean scarf for *ME*!

I've had a ball of this yarn in my stash for a while, it's from the Sirdar Crofter DK collection and is a "magic" yarn that creates a fairisle effect all by itself. I've even knitted it up twice before but hadn't found a way to show off the beautiful ocean shades and the clever self-pattern effect.

Finally I discovered a pattern that would do it justice! It's by Leslie Lewis, on Ravelry, and is called the Ocean Waves Scarf. I used 45 stitches and basically knitted in pattern until I ran out of yarn. I knew it wouldn't be enough for a normal scarf, so I've added some buttons from my stash and made it into a neckwarmer, joining each end to the opposite edge which means it comes together in a point at the front, just where you need the warmth in a shirt neckline. I love the stripes of sea colours. 

My teddy is a better model than I am!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Spread the Warmth, AgeUK's winter campaign and knitting challenge

AgeUK contacted me a few days ago to ask if I'd join in their Spread the Warmth campaign. Now it's my turn to pass the challenge on - will you join in?

This winter, 24,000 older people could die because of the cold. Many of these deaths could be prevented if everyone lived in a warm home.
We need to get the message across to every MP – including yours. So AgeUK are asking people to knit a message to send to their MP. If you're not sure who your MP is, you can find out by entering your postcode into
You can download the knitting pattern from AgeUK, it took me very little time and a very small amount of yarn - but if you are not a knitter, you can still add your voice to the campaign here. You can also download the leaflet which includes the note to send with your knitted message:

AgeUK also has advice  to help people keep themselves warm during the coming winter months - let's all spread the warmth!
Please share the link to AgeUK's campaign around your social media and reblog if you can. Thank you.